This article is brought to you by OEHHA.
In 1986, California voters approved an initiative to address their growing concerns about exposure to toxic chemicals. That initiative became the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, better known by its original name of Proposition 65. Proposition 65 requires the State to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm. The list has grown to include over 800 chemicals since it was first published in 1987
The Proposition 65 list contains two types of chemicals: carcinogens, which can cause cancer, and reproductive toxicants, which cause birth defects or other reproductive harm, such as sterility or miscarriages. Some chemicals may be additives or ingredients in pesticides, common household products, food, or drugs. Others may be industrial chemicals, dyes, or solvents used in dry cleaning, manufacturing, and construction. Still others may be byproducts of chemical processes; for example, motor vehicle exhaust
Under Proposition 65, businesses are required to give a “clear and reasonable” warning before knowingly exposing anyone to a listed chemical above a specified level. This warning can be included on the label of a consumer product or published in a newspaper. An equally common practice is for businesses to provide a warning at the workplace or in a public area affected by the chemical.
For more information and the full Prop 65 Fact Sheet, please refer to the OEHHA link above.